• No Sweat
  • Monday, November 28, 2005


    Not so long ago, I felt like I was the only voice out there complaining about Republican corruption. I started this blog to try and help get the word out on just how sleazy the Republican party has become. I started with Tom DeLay, the Blunts in Missouri and some of the Ohio Republicans. But in June or so I started focusing on a particularly self-rightous hypocrite who tried to wrap himself in the flag and exploit 9/11, but who was also taking blatant bribes. I am referring to Rep. Randy Cunningham, Republican representing CA-50 district in San Diego County. Then in July or so Rep. Cunningham's coprruption caught up with him. He announced he would not run in 2006, opening the field and giving the Dems a chance for a pickup. Francine Busby is the Democrat who has stepped up to fight to win this seat.

    But I wasn't satisfied with Cunningham simply announcing he won't run again. The man was caught red handed taking bribes, so I demanded that he resign and I urged all my readers to do the same. Well, we are but a few, so our voices may or may not have contributed to this, but now Rep. Randy Cunningham is stepping down after pleading guilty to bribery charges. We won another one! First DeLay is slapped down. Now Cunningham is forced out. Remember. These aren't POLITICAL victories. These are MORAL victories over corrupt politicians who should have never been voted into office in the first place! We have to make this clear. This is about cleaning house. The Republicans have become so soft on corruption that they actually defend members of their own party, like DeLay and Cunningham, who are caught red handed. It is time America sends the Republicans a message. Clean up now or step down.

    Write a letter to the editor to national and your local media demanding that the Republican party clean out corrupt members like Cunningham (CA), Frist (TN), DeLay (TX), Oxley (OH) and Blunt (MO). Each and every one of these Republicans, as well as dozens of others, have committed disgusting acts of corruption (outlined elsewhere in this blog) and we must hold them accountable. Express your disgust at the way Republicans are soft on corruption and your surprise at how their corruption is so widespread. It is an embarassment to our entire nation! Additionally, write the local San Diego media (zip code 92025 for Cunningham's district) expressing your relief that Cunningham finally faced the music and resigned in disgrace. Emphasize how his corruption makes all of America look bad.

    Then write your Congressional Rep. and demand a House wide investigation of Republican corruption. Tom DeLay was bad enough. The Missouri and Ohio Republican Parties was unacceptable. But now that Republican corruption is reaching from coast to coast, it is time for Congress to take action and oust the many bad apples of the Republican party.

    Finally, support Francine Busby to replace the Corrupt Cunningham. Let's prove to the nation that the Democrats will clean up the mess that Republicans have left America.

    Saturday, November 19, 2005


    Recently, the NY Times covered a Pentagon investigation of favoritism in awarding Dick Cheney's favorite company, Halliburton, a multibillion dollar contract for oil field repairs in Iraq. Remember, Halliburton has been given NUMEROUS no-bid contracts in Iraq as well as in New Orleans despite the fact that they had already been fined for overcharging the Federal government for a former contract in Iraq. This is another clear case of favoritism and cronyism in the Bush administration.

    Excerpts from the NY Times article via Truthout:

    Pentagon investigators have referred allegations of abuse in how the Halliburton Company was awarded a contract for work in Iraq to the Justice Department for possible criminal investigation, a Democratic senator who has been holding unofficial hearings on contract abuses in Iraq said yesterday in Washington.

    The allegations mainly involve the Army's secret, noncompetitive awarding in 2003 of a multibillion dollar contract for oil field repairs in Iraq to Halliburton, a Texas-based company. The objections were raised publicly last year by Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, then the chief contracts monitor at the Army Corps of Engineers, the government agency that handled the contract and several others in Iraq.

    In a letter received and released yesterday by Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, the assistant Pentagon inspector general, John R. Crane, said that the criminal investigation service of the Defense Department had examined Ms. Greenhouse's allegations "and has shared its findings with the Department of Justice." Senator Dorgan is the chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, a Congressional group that has repeatedly used unofficial hearings to question the administration's record of awarding contracts in Iraq...

    Ms. Greenhouse, a 20-year veteran of military procurement work, says her objections before the contract was signed were ignored. After internal clashes with officials at the agency and threats of demotion, she went public with her charges in the fall of 2004.

    This year, she was demoted in August from the elite Senior Executive Service, on charges of poor performance, and given a lower-ranking job as a project manager. She has filed appeals, but for now "she has no projects to manage and she just sits in the corner," her attorney, Michael Kohn, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Washington. The inspector general's office at the Defense Department had already begun its own investigation of her charges regarding the contracting. Exactly which issues are of most interest to investigators in the Justice Department is unclear. Mr. Crane wrote that he could not provide more details "as this is an ongoing criminal investigation."

    But there is more regarding Dick Cheney's favorite crony company. Remember how the Bush administration dragged its feet when hurricane Katrina hit, leaving thousands of poor Americans to die? Well, when they finally got off their asses and DID something, one of their first actions was to award Halliburton YET ANOTHER no-bid contract. This time to clean up in New Orleans. Halliburton and its subcontractors then hired hundreds of undocumented Latino workers to clean up after Katrina, then mistreated them and kicked them out onto the streets without pay. In essence, Halliburton used slave labor in Louisiana.

    Here are excerpts from's article on this scandal:

    Arnulfo Martinez recalls seeing lots of hombres del ejercito standing at attention. Though he was living on the Belle Chasse Naval Base near New Orleans when President Bush spoke there on Oct. 11, he didn't understand anything the ruddy man in the rolled-up sleeves was saying to the troops.

    Martinez, 16, speaks no English; his mother tongue is Zapotec. He had left the cornfields of Oaxaca, Mexico, four weeks earlier for the promise that he would make $8 an hour, plus room and board, while working for a subcontractor of KBR, a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton that was awarded a major contract by the Bush administration for disaster relief work. The job was helping to clean up a Gulf Coast naval base in the region devastated by Hurricane Katrina. "I was cleaning up the base, picking up branches and doing other work," Martinez said, speaking to me in broken Spanish.

    Even if the Oaxacan teenager had understood Bush when he urged Americans that day to "help somebody find shelter or help somebody find food," he couldn't have known that he'd soon need similar help himself. But three weeks after arriving at the naval base from Texas, Martinez's boss, Karen Tovar, a job broker from North Carolina who hired workers for a KBR subcontractor called United Disaster Relief, booted him from the base and left him homeless, hungry and without money.

    "They gave us two meals a day and sometimes only one," Martinez said.

    He says that Tovar "kicked us off the base," forcing him and other cleanup workers - many of them Mexican and undocumented - to sleep on the streets of New Orleans. According to Martinez, they were not paid for three weeks of work. An immigrant rights group recently filed complaints with the Department of Labor on behalf of Martinez and 73 other workers allegedly owed more than $56,000 by Tovar. Tovar claims that she let the workers go because she was not paid by her own bosses at United Disaster Relief. In turn, UDR manager Zachary Johnson, who declined to be interviewed for this story, told the Washington Post on Nov. 4 that his company had not been paid by KBR for two months...

    Right after Katrina barreled through the Gulf Coast, the Bush administration relaxed labor standards, creating conditions for rampant abuse, according to union leaders and civil rights advocates. Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires employers to pay "prevailing wages" for labor used to fulfill government contracts. The administration also waived the requirement for contractors rebuilding the Gulf Coast to provide valid I-9 employment eligibility forms completed by their workers. These moves allowed Halliburton/KBR and its subcontractors to hire undocumented workers and pay them meager wages (regardless of what wages the workers may have otherwise been promised). The two policies have recently been reversed in the face of sharp political pressure: Bush reinstated the Davis-Bacon Act on Nov. 3, while the Department of Homeland Security reinstated the I-9 requirements in late October, noting that it would once again "exercise prosecutorial discretion" of employers in violation "on a case-by-case basis." But critics say Bush's policies have already allowed extensive profiteering beneath layers of legal and political cover.

    Halliburton/KBR, which enjoys an array of federal contracts in the United States, Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has long drawn criticism for its proximity to Vice President Dick Cheney, formerly Halliburton's CEO.

    Why is this company, which overcharges the Federal government, mistreats workers and is not very effective in what it is hired to do, favored so highly by the Bush administration? CORRUPTION! Dick Cheney was on the board of this company and still makes money from his past connections. This is a clear case of the corruption of the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhauer warned us against.

    Please write a letter to the editor complaining about this corruption and Dick Cheney's role in favoring Halliburton.